Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 30932

Law 14 - The Penalty kick 10/21/2016

RE: Under 19

Brian of Brooklyn, NY USA asks...

Re penalty kicks.

I understand that all players must be behind the ball i.e not closer to the goal line but do they have to be behind the 18 yard line (as if it extended the full width of the field)? Can any player stand 10 yards away (outside the penalty area) from the penalty spot but closer to the goal line than the 18 yard line?


Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Brian,

Yes I base it on how the wording reads it seems possible for a player to go out toward the touchlines and come to within 12 plus yards of the goal line while being outside the PA yet in the FOP. The penalty arc is the ten yard radius so those in behind the kicker are the mandatory distance away. You are plenty far away at the edges but It would be whether you are BEHIND the penalty spot.

Here is the FIFA QUOTE
The players other than the kicker and goalkeeper must be:
 at least 9.15 m (10 yds.) from the penalty mark
 behind the penalty mark
 inside the field of play
 outside the penalty area


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Brian
Players must be at least 10 yards from the ball and outside the penalty area and arc. Player can go to the side of the penalty area yet must remain outside the area. The reason it is never done is that players assess that the *best* location is in front of goal along the 18 yard line or arc rather than to the side level or behind the ball. It is why there can be a jostling queue at the intersection of the arc and penalty area for position.
I suppose should the ball be saved the question one has to ask is whether the ball will be diverted to the side in which case the side on position could be more advantageous.
To the side as a starting point it is a lot further from the ball by some 12 yards so it is highly questionable.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 30932
Read other Q & A regarding Law 14 - The Penalty kick

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 30941

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.